India has reportedly finalised a deal to purchase around 70,000 AK-203 assault rifles from Russia. The deliveries are expected to begin within three months from the first payment and will be completed in six months. The assault rifles will be procured off-the-shelf in a bid to meet the immediate requirements of the armed forces. The Indian Ministry of Defence has already issued a request for proposal (RFP) for around 671,000 rifles. However, the final deal is being held due to the high costs quoted. The Indian Army has a requirement of around 770,000 AK-203 rifles. These rifles are expected to replace the existing Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56mm × 45mm assault rifle.
In 2019, India and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to manufacture the rifles. Subsequently, a joint venture called Indo-Russia Rifles (IRPL) was formed with India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) holding a 50.5% stake in the company. Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) is a rifle-manufacturing facility in Korwa, Amethi district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The factory is a joint-venture of the Ordnance Factory Board of India and Kalashnikov Concern of Russia, with Rosoboronexport holding a minority stake and will produce 750,000 AK-203s, a 7.62×39mm variant from the AK-100 family.
The IRRPL has been licensed to produce 750,000 AK-203 assault rifles chambered for 7.62×39mm. The AK-203 is a modernized 200 series AK-103 variant and one of the modern derivatives of the Russian AK-Pattern series of assault rifles. The 200 series are technically based on the AK-100 family and the more expensive AK-12 rifle family. The AK-203 is reported as the latest and most advanced version of the most abundant firearm in the world, the AK-47 assault rifle. Variety of ammunition types in 7.62mm allows the operator to be combat ready and efficient while accomplishing any mission.
The 7.62mm AK203 is a perfect Assault Rifle made even better. The know-how implemented in this iteration augmented combat and tactical capabilities drastically. Picatinny rails made the AK203 extremely versatile as the operator can install the whole range of tactical equipment. Advanced technical solutions improved fire accuracy and barrel lifespan considerably. Modern design features such as folding and adjustable buttstock, windowed and rifled magazine, and a pistol grip made this Assault Rifle more ergonomic. Reliability has always been the salient feature of all the Russian-made AK iterations.